Yikes! So late with the list. Here’s what happened in December…
1) I’ve always been a stickler for waiting until the day after Thanksgiving to put Christmas decorations up. I stuck by the rule this year, but barely (I started pulling out boxes before Thanksgiving was over). I’m beginning to understand the strong desire to decorate early. It’s dreary. The flowers are gone, the sun is gone. Let’s get some holiday up in here.
2) I did break my “no artificial greenery” rule this year and bought three faux garlands. Two for the stairs and one for the living room mantle. Just didn’t want to deal with all the needles and clean-up.
After lots of online research (reviews) and one bad purchase (Home Depot), I settled on garlands from Ballard Designs. magnolia for the stairs (top photo) and angel pine for the mantle (bottom pic). They were pricey, but worth it in the long run. I went back to their website after Christmas to buy another one because I was so impressed with how great they looked, but alas they are sold out of both.
3) This photo doesn’t do it justice, but the “crazy house” (girls’ term, not mine) on Lakeshore was ultra decked out for Christmas this year. Whoa.
4) I am single-handedly keeping Trader Joe’s pot sticker business alive. Here’s my stash. The TJ’s brand pork ones are the best, followed by the chicken soup dumplings in close second (the Filipino guy who works there – and the only other Filipino I’ve met here – told me to use them in their ginger-miso soup. SO good).
The butternut squash dumplings sound good in theory but they are a disaster. Skip them. You’re welcome.
5) Speaking of Asian food, I asked my dry cleaning lady if there was anywhere I could get good Korean food. Turns out there is. Her house. Whaaaat? Yes, you guys. She offered to teach me how to cook all my favorite dishes. Date to be decided, and you know I’ll be posting about it.
6) On the same day Japan’s supreme court ruled to uphold the law that married women must take their husband’s surname, our six-year-old asked me, “why are girls Miss if they aren’t married and Mrs. if they are and boys only have Mister.” Good. Question. And a reminder that we have a long way to go.
7) Have you seen Pantone’s color of the year!? My favorite shade of pink!!! (They actually chose two colors this year. The other one is Serenity, a soft blue.)
8) My husband and I attended a Krug champagne tasting dinner at the Yacht Club with two other couples. We found out at the last minute that it was a black tie affair, so I scrambled to buy a dress (and discovered Halston Heritage in the process. Oh my gosh).
The champagne was of course divine, but the food was….just okay. Well, the lobster was amazing, but I ate it in one bite. Same with the trout (although…three bites for that one). There were healthy portions of duck and venison, but they were too gamey for some of us, and after dinner we drove to a local spot and shared a pizza.
9) Made blueberry scones (with the last of our summer blueberries from New York) for Christmas Day and two sweet potato pies for Christmas Eve. I had a mishap with the grater while making scones (P fetched a bandaid for me).
10) We only ate one of the pies on Christmas Eve, so I was able to take the other one to Shirley’s (our neighbor and my gardening friend) house the next day. When we got there, she presented the girls with their very own mini fairy garden. Sweetest. Thing. Ever.
In the spring we’ll put it outside, but right now it’s on our kitchen table. Our littlest plays with it every day.
10) My husband’s nephew works downtown at the new Will Leather Goods store and we finally made it down there to check it out. It’s a beautiful retail space, with most of the products on the main floor and a second floor loft houses their hats. There’s also a cafe inside the shop, which I didn’t try, but the treats looked yummy.
11) Our book this month for book group was The Turner House, which I was interested to read because the story follows a family from Detroit throughout history. I couldn’t get more than halfway through. It was kind of blah.
Instead, I re-read the first Harry Potter book, which was just as fun the second time around. I spotted the new illustrated version later, and wished I’d read that version instead.
12) This cheese. Whenever I see the Cypress Grove label, I get excited. One, because not many places carry it and two, their cheeses are fabulous. The company is located several hours north of San Francisco. I always wanted to visit, but never had the chance.
The Farms Market in town carries Purple Haze, which is a goat cheese (they’re all goat) with fennel pollen and lavender. I tried it for the first time this month (I usually get Humbolt Fog, which is divine with figs and pistachios) and it was equally great. So smooth. Just the right amount of lavender. (Also, can you tell I’m starving right now!?! )
December was a great month, but I did get pretty homesick this month for San Francisco, for friends, for family. Tis the season. I’m so looking forward to this New Year and all its possibilities. Wishing you a wonderful January and 2016!